What Is Cancer?
Cancer is a category of a broad class of diseases, all of which share specific traits. In a normal and healthy individual, cells grow, mature, divide, and die in a very controlled manner. Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, occurs often in cells all over the body, and this keeps aging cells or those with DNA damage from developing problems that can turn into something serious. What happens when this natural life cycle of a cell is disrupted?
When an individual develops cancer, some of their cells begin to grow out of control. These cancerous cells will continue growing rather than going through their natural life cycle and then dying off. In most cancers, this results in the formation of tumors in the affected areas of the body, and these tumors can then invade other nearby structures of the body, causing damage to them.
Who Is Affected by Cancer?
According to The American Cancer Society, over 1.6 million people get diagnosed with various types of cancer in the United States each and every year. This means that virtually everyone at least knows someone who has been affected by cancer in one way or another. Whether you yourself have been diagnosed or someone you love has been affected, cancer rates continue to soar.
Mainstream Cancer Treatments
Traditionally, cancer is treated by first removing the tumor surgically. In many cases, this surgery is then followed by chemotherapy and possibly also radiation. Chemotherapy drugs are targeted medications that aim to kill cancer cells before they have a chance to grow and spread further. However, these drugs come with harsh side effects including depletion of the immune system, heightened susceptibility to common viral illnesses, hair loss, nausea and vomiting, weakness, and many more. Of course, saving their life is the goal of all cancer patients, but what about the possibility of helping cancer patients with CBD oil?
Cancer and CBD Oil – How Cannabinoids Can Help Cancer Patients
CBD oil can prove beneficial to cancer patients in several different ways. First of all, and perhaps most importantly, recent research has demonstrated that CBD oil inhibits the further growth of cancer cells. If these cells cannot continue to grow, the cancer cannot spread.
According to Project CBD, several exciting studies have shown that when cannabinoid receptors are activated within the body, this process has anti-tumor effects even in very aggressive cancers that are resistant to the toughest chemotherapy agents.
Angiogenesis is the process by which cancerous tumors develop a blood supply that helps them remain alive, grow, and subsequently spread. This study published in Pubmed demonstrates that CBD oil not only helps cancer cells die, but it also can help reduce or take away the blood supply to the tumor, causing it to die off. The benefits of CBD oil do not end there, however.
CBD Oil and Cancer Treatment Side Effects
As we discussed above, traditional cancer treatments come with incredibly harsh side effects. It just so happens that CBD oil has been shown highly effective at reducing the side effects brought about by chemotherapy.
For example, nausea in cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy is one of the top physical complaints and can result not only in discomfort, but also potential malnutrition. Activation of cannabinoid receptors in the body have a calming effect on the digestive system and alleviate the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that many times accompany these treatments.
Another common complaint of those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation is neuropathy, or nerve pain, that often extends into the extremities, making normal day to day functioning difficult or impossible. In one study described on the ECHO website, CBD oil was found to be even more effective at controlling neuropathy than the prescription opioid drugs normally used for this purpose.
Weight loss from a lack of appetite due to traditional cancer treatments is exceedingly common among patients. Components within CBD oil can stimulate the appetite of cancer patients undergoing treatment. Additionally, with nausea and vomiting kept to a minimum or stopped altogether, cancer patients can successfully maintain a healthy weight and keep up ideal nutrition to avoid deficiencies that can affect the functioning of their immune system.
As a result of these exciting discoveries, the National Cancer Institute recognizes CBD oil as a legitimate and highly beneficial treatment for sometimes debilitating side effects that accompany cancer treatment.
As we have seen, cancer is a condition likely to affect all of us in one way or another at some point in our lives. It brings with it harsh treatments that result in serious, life altering side effects. Anything that can help these patients live a more productive and satisfying life while they’re undergoing their traditional cancer treatments is a huge plus. While much more research is ultimately needed to learn more about this process and all the potential benefits, in the meantime we hope we have answered the commonly asked question, “How can CBD oil help cancer patients?”
Related resource: What are the Benefits of CBD Oil?